Saturday, November 29, 2014
The main goal of yoga is learning to control the mind. The mind and the soul are one. We use the yoga poses to help us control the mind. Thoughts exist in the mind. Thoughts are called vrittis. There are five main vrittis or fluctuations that affect our consciousness. The first three are:
1. Correct knowledge
2. Incorrect knowledge or misconception
3. Imagination(verbal delusion)
And the fourth is sleep. When we sleep we suspend all other thought processes such as knowledge, misconception and imagination. We sort of empty the mind and surrender to the world of dreams. However, dreams are not thoughts. That is because thoughts are voluntary. Dreams are involuntary. With knowledge and imagination we evaluate and conjure our own images. Thus we create thoughts and control what we think. With dreams we step outside the realm of reality and outside the control of the dreamer. That is because the images, sounds, ideas and feelings we experience in our dream states are involuntary and out of our control.
Upon a wakening we realize that all our thoughts were suspended as we slept accept this one thought; when we sleep we empty the mind, we let go and this leaves an impression upon us when we awake.
To empty the mind takes practice. But in kriya yoga the empty mind is considered undesirable insofar as it results in passive energy. Instead we focus on being still. It means to let go of tension without lowering your energy. “Nature abhors a vacuum”. When there is emptiness something always rushes in to fill the void. Therefore what we want to do is focus and let go. We control the mind by being quiet.
Nothing is achieved without practice.
The key to quietude is not to try and empty the mind, but to relax your mind so that it does not get involved in any thought or feeling. Thoughts and feelings come and go. If we don’t get attached to our thoughts they fade and the mind begins to empty or become quiet.
The easiest way for us to do this is to do the sitting Zen. That is because when we give the mind something to focus on, like the breath, it suspends thought and we experience moments of quietude.
What is the impression sleep leaves upon us? Why should we empty the mind when we sleep? When we sleep we rest the body. We also rest the mind. We let go, detach and experience emptiness insofar as it brings moments of peace and serenity. When we awake we are relaxed, refreshed and rejuvenated. This is good for the body, the mind and the soul.
Friday, November 28, 2014
Balanced and centered fluid motion ensures that we will always flow with change rather than resisting growth. Rigidity in the face of change creates resistance and stress. With enough force rigidity snaps and destruction is complete.
Evolution is an unfolding process of development or change. It is also the name of a scientific theory proposed by Charles Darwin that states that all species developed from earlier forms. It states that natural selection and random genetic mutation has altered the species over the course of 3.8 billion years (www.evcforum.net). Although it is true that we adapt and change with our environment, the latest methods of measuring the earth’s age shows that there has not been enough time for complex life forms to evolve from single- celled organisms. There also seems to be a missing link in every evolutionary line, human or otherwise and no transitional species showing evolution in progress between two stages has ever been found. Although survival depends upon evolution, evolution is more than simply the physical adaptation of the species to the environment. Behind this mystery of life, there appears to be an energy force so powerful that it pushes consciousness into existence. We call it prana or vital force. Its true nature is that of movement (change).
When we exist at the level of survival there is little room for thoughts, emotions and expansive creation. However, until we have attended to our basic needs we cannot evolve to higher states of being. It is believed that the defining moments in the development of the human culture are the result of some form of rituals. A ritual or a ceremony indicates an organized set of steps to celebrate or mark a special occasion. It would appear that the ability to transcend beyond pure animalistic sexual lust and survival was the ability to look upon and celebrate the bounty of life. If this is so, then our evolutionary path is one of honor. Honoring the creation of life is defining the emerging human tendency to reach beyond animal instincts. It is the ability to move beyond a fear (survival) based world and into a world that is void of fear and sees abundance everywhere.
Abundance means the ability to move beyond the fear of security over homes, relationships, possessions, and nourishment, in order to focus on the eternal provisions of nature. We no longer become weighed down by the struggle to survive. At the soul level, we know we will always receive as long as we are open to the bounty of the universe.
In the scriptures the fresh leaven shrew bread is forever present within the temple of God. This is simply an allegory for the abundance of life. It is only when we cut ourselves off from the sanctity of creation that we lose sight of the proliferation of nature. Miraculously, new life is created every day. Each moment, the dynamics of change take place. Letting go of the need to hoard, protect, fight, and lustfully pursue allows us to transcend the basic nature of existence and reach higher levels of existence where feelings and emotions give color and depth to our lives. Locking ourselves into the constant struggle to survive has the potential to block energy, ultimately leaving us with low vitality. It takes a lot of energy to uphold survival, because it is fear- based.
So remember the most abundant thing in the universe is energy. We have the power to move and to adapt to change. Give and receive from the center of life connected by the heart. You are the vital force of energy. Use it wisely.
Wednesday, November 26, 2014
Those little jars of herbs sitting on the shelf are calling your name. Sweetly and romantically they are seducing you into the sensory world where you can taste the passion of desire, lust and love making. Herbs are nature’s answer to both flavor and medicine. Green and full of nutrients herbs do a multitude of task. Among them is the ability to enhance our sexual health. So try being an herbivore.
Herbs such as basil have long been used as a culinary herb in many cuisines throughout the world; most notably Italian. There are many varieties of basil depending upon where it is grown. Basil is originally native to Iran. The word Basil comes from the Greek word meaning king. It is believed that basil grew above the spot where Constantine and Helen found the Holy Cross. It is therefore called the king of herbs.
Recently there has been much research in to the health benefits of basil. The essential oil of the basil plant has been shown to have antioxidant, antiviral, anticancer and antimicrobial properties. In aromatherapy basil oil is used to treat mental exhaustion and depression.
Basil has a long history as being used as an aphrodisiac. Because its scent induces a sense of well being, it is believed that the smell of basil is helpful for getting, “in the mood”, which is conducive to having great sex. Don Juan supposedly would take fresh basil leaves and squeeze them into a tomato drink before each conquest. Basil leaves placed in the bottom of a glass of wine is believed to excite one sexually. And as oil defused in aromatherapy it is used to cure all kinds of headaches. Use basil and no more headache excuses!
Basil is associated with the love goddess, Erzulie who is known for her beauty, sensuality, sweetness and love. In Wicca Basil can be found in any recipes for love spells, relationships and sexuality. In Italy sweet basil is grown in a pot on a windowsill to summon a lover.
It is said that the scent of fresh basil drives men crazy with lust. In ancient times women would dust themselves with fresh crushed basil to attract a man. Its uplifting fragrance promotes feeling of contentment, love, sweetness and desire – all a great recipe for sex!
The essential oil, what we aroma therapist call the “blood of the plant” is what gives basil it medicinal benefits. Rich in vitamin K and iron it helps blood to clot, gives us energy and its sweet scent uplifts and entices. More and more scientists are rediscovering the wonderful benefits of herbs. So if you want to add a little aromance your love life, add basil and you got a great recipe for sex.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
The Five Vrittis or the way our thoughts arise
1. We receive correct knowledge
2. We receive incorrect knowledge
The Third is Verbal Delusion
A verbal delusion is an image that arises when hearing words. In verbal delusion there is nothing there to see or validate, however you still conger a picture or develop a thought about whatever was said.
A story by Swami Satchidananda best explains this. To para phrase; suppose I say to you that my husband was taking his car to the garage when he ran over several nails and punctured all four of his tires. So he had to remove the wheels and leave them with the mechanic for repair. He drove home very fast and got into an accident. What do you say?
Perhaps you say –“ Oh was he hurt “-You have only heard my words. You haven’t taken the time to think. If he gave all his wheels to be repaired he could not have driven his car home nor gotten into an accident. It didn’t happen, but you took it seriously enough to ask me about my husband.
Here is another example – His mother was a barren woman. It’s a verbal delusion, but it still made an impression on you.
It’s not that we should fear verbal delusion. We just need to learn to listen, to question and to decipher. So let; begin our class today and work on the third Vrittis –listening.
Nothing is achieved without practice and that is why we are here to practice yoga.
Listen carefully when others speak. Listen carefully when you speak. Then Listen deep within your soul and the best thoughts will away arrive. Just listen…..
Friday, November 21, 2014
PERMA the formula for happiness
P is for positive thoughts-happiness is a state of mind
E is for engagement- being fully engaged in an activity makes us happy
R is for relationships- enjoying time with others makes us happy
M is for meaning-those who find meaning in their lives are happy people
A is for achievement- when we achieve goals we all feel happy.
Now that you’re happy SMILE – yes SMILE is also a study about happiness. A study out of Duke showed that exercise three times a week for 30 minutes was as helpful as taking an antidepressant! So get up and dance. Try Aero*boga - the anti-aging Yoga Dance Class http://www/doctorlynn.com
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Our task here on Earth is to develop virtues and leave behind vices. Each of us comes with a set of vices such as jealousy, anger and fear. Our task is to replace these with virtues such as truthfulness, kindness and compassion.
An absence of virtue is a disturbance in the natural balance of the soul. Vices such as worry, hate, fear, jealousy, anger, greed, cruelty, self-love, instability, ignorance, and pride disturb this natural balanced. Science even tells us that when there is an energy imbalance in the body-mind, it results in a breakdown of the system, otherwise known as disease.
Disease of the body is not necessarily due to physical causes, but rather to certain disturbing moods or states of mind, that interfere with an individual’s happiness. This is because the mind and its infinite energy are in absolute control over the mental and physical state of every human being. However, the mind either draws its energy from the intellect, which is the energy of the soul, or from the earthly world, taking on emotion. A disturbance to the mind such as stress, worry, or depression results in a loss of peace and serenity, and communicates through the nerves to the physical body. Continued stress and worry create energy that eventually deprives the body of vitality.
Work on your virtues and leave your vices behind.
Wednesday, November 19, 2014
Ever entered a cheese store and been bowled over by the scent of aromatic cheeses? Why is it that the foulest smelling are usually the most expensive and the best tasting? Is cheese really good for our health? Well it is a good source of calcium, protein and other essential vitamins and minerals. But what about all the fat in cheese?
History tells us that Arab nomads were probably the first to make cheese. Carrying milk in animal skins in the hot dessert the milk curdled and turned into primitive cheese. The earliest account of cheeses dates back to the Sumerians around 3500 B.C. As time progressed the Romans were attributed with the art of perfecting cheese. From there it spread throughout the world, with Italy becoming the Mecca of cheese making. The rest is a long history of cheese being a staple in the diet of most all cultures.
In Italy Gorgonzola is first mentioned in 879 C.E. A cheese called La Luna, possibly the precursor of today’s Parmigiano-Romano, first appeared in 1579. Mozzarella and Parmigiana are probably the most widely used cheeses.
About one-third all the milk produced in the US today is used to produce cheese. The International Dairy Association estimates that there are more than 300 varieties of cheese sold in the U.S. The average American consumes more than 33 pounds of cheese per year. But is cheese good for you?
The health benefits are many. Calcium for dental health and bone strength and cheese is rich in vitamin B. The B vitamins are utilized as coenzymes in almost all parts of the body. They are essential for maintaining healthy nerves, skin, hair, eyes, liver and they are good muscle tone in the gastrointestinal tract. But what about all the fat in cheese?
Well full fat cheese is very high in saturate fat and high in calories. This is most of your rich creamy cheeses. However, that doesn’t mean you need to stop eating it and receiving the good benefits. Just change your relationship with cheese so that it becomes an accent to food and not the main ingredient. Limit yourself to a couple of serving of high fat rich cheese every week. Eat more hard cheeses like parmigiana also known as parmesan in the US.
The proponents of parmigiana cheese applaud its many health benefits dubbing it a “super food”. As well as, being high in calcium and the B vitamins parmigiana is a supper food because the human digestive system can easily assimilate all its goodness. Due to its long aging, much of the protein in Parmesan has been broken down into peptones, peptides and free amino acids. This means that the protein has been 'pre-digested'. The protein is readily available and as such it is easily metabolized.
Parmesan contains 33% protein compared to 20% in lean beef and the cheese protein takes only 45 minutes to digest while the protein in animal products take about 4 hours. Other benefits for the digestive system include Parmesan's ability to promote the development of Bacillus Bifidus, which is useful for the maintenance of a healthy gut. Parmigiana is also lactose free making it a good choice for the lactose intolerant or those with gastro-intestinal inflammation.
The combination of health benefits and ease of digestion is why doctors in Italy suggest parmagiana cheese for infants, the elderly and athletes. Health wise, well, it appears the Italians are the big cheese!
Tuesday, November 18, 2014
The first is right knowledge and the second is incorrect knowledge.
How many times have you perceived something incorrectly and how many times has it disturbed your peace? Be careful with the information you receive and how you interrupt it. This is how the mind gets distorted. Examine your thoughts. When you feel emotions arise, step back, take a breath and you may see that things are not as they appear. In the dark you come upon a coil of rope and mistake it for a snake. This frightens you. The information is incorrect, but you still react.
Be careful with incorrect information. It is everywhere. Let your root ground you, your solar plexus strengthen you, your heart open you and your intuition guide you. Question and examine.
Saturday, November 15, 2014
The vrittis are the whirling of the mind. There are five types. The first is correct knowledge. This is based upon truth. The second is incorrect knowledge. Misconceptions occur when knowledge of something is not based upon its true form. Let’s say you see me walk by without a smile. I don’t even notice you or stop to say hello. You infer that I am angry, but the truth is I have something pressing on my mind and I did not notice you. I am not angry. You have a false perception based upon inaccurate information. But this still created a feeling of sadness and confusion for you. The feeling is real for you even if it is incorrect.
It is not the vrittiis that are good or bad. Correct knowledge can be used in a harmful way just as incorrect knowledge can be helpful. It is the effect the vrittis have on the mind that we need to examine. The whirling and churning of the mind disturbs our peace.
It is through understanding that we gain the ability to observe our thought processes and through this we learn to control them. Control your mind and you control everything.
But nothing is achieved without practice.
The vrittis obscure the view of our real self. Like the surface of a lake on a moonlit night our mind when still reflects perfectly reality. But with even a small ripple caused by a thought, reality is distorted. Thoughts will arise. That is the nature of the mind. Examine your thoughts. Control your mind and you control everything.
Thursday, November 13, 2014
Energy; we are nothing more or less than a field of energy. As we take on consciousness we begin to expand and this expansion leads to our evolution. But what is evolution?
Life is like the famous Buddhist paradox or Koan, What is the sound of one hand clapping? This places us outside the limitations of the rational mind. It expands our consciousness. In this we evolve.
In life there are no right or wrong answers, but simply a level of consciousness and the state of your being. It is about being objective and suspending judgment, of the world and of ourselves. Paradoxically you are about the content of your life and at the same time only about the process. So let’s begin the process by creating health for the body, the mind and the soul.
You live the content of your life through the process of evolving. Evolving involves energy and energy takes form through your consciousness. You have taken on this life to live out your own evolution. It may take lifetimes to arrive. So pay attention to how and where you place your energy. This is your evolution. Ask yourself; What is the sound of one hand clapping?
Wednesday, November 12, 2014
Spain is known for many things; the flamingo, architecture, music, guitars, art, wine, good food and of course paella. A rice dish from Spain, Paella originated as a dish using whatever ingredients one had on hand to make a meal. The amazing thing about paella is that it is a dish that gives us health in the form of those little green peas, sexual vibrancy from those divine crustaceans and seafood, happiness interlaced throughout with the saffron and artichoke hearts tenderly placed to signify love.
Crusty bread and olive oil
White wine rose’ or Sangria - make ahead and chill
1 bottle of a light rose or white wine – pour in a carafe and add 2 oranges and 2 lemons cut into wedges. Add 2 Tbsp of sugar and 2 Tbsp of brandy and 1 12 oz bottle of sparkling water.
Dessert Manchego Spanish cheese; a sheep’s cheese from Spain that works nicely with grapes and a splash of Port – arrange on a plate with grapes and enjoy with any good Port dessert wine
No side dishes or salads tonight as Paella is meant to stand on its own. It’s a hearty dish with such a variety of flavors and foods.
Paella - serves four
1 16 oz can of stewed tomatoes
1 bunch of scallions chopped- white end only
1 clove of garlic minced
¼ tsp paprika
¼ tsp thyme
¼ teaspoon saffron
1 ½ pounds of boneless chicken thighs
½ pound of chorizo sauce sliced
1 ½ pound of shelled and divined shrimp
1 14 oz can of artichoke hearts
1 Tsp. of medium hot salsa
1 cup fresh frozen peas
Three cups of paella arroz rice or any long grain white rice
3cups of chicken broth
Heat 3 cups of chicken broth, remove from heat and stir in thyme, paprika and saffron. Put cover on top and keep warm. Pour olive oil in a paella pan or a Dutch oven. Heat and sauté the scallion. Add chicken thigh meat cut into bite size chunks and the sausage cut into slices. When the onion is tender and the chicken is slightly browned add the tomatoes and salsa. Add garlic and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Pour in the two cups of rice and stir to cover rice completely. Slowly add the 3 cups of chicken broth. Move the rice a round gently so it is evenly distributed throughout the pan. Do not stir the rice after this point. Let it simmer for about ten minutes. Then add the fresh seafood placing the shrimp and clams evenly over the top of the stew. Let simmer for about 15- 20 minutes or until the clams have opened and the liquid from the stew is absorbed. Take from heat and cover the pan with aluminum foil and let sit for about 10 minutes.
Place the paella pan in the middle of the table and serve family style, with fresh crusty bread, wine or sangria and fish and for dessert cheese, fruit and port.
Saturday, November 08, 2014
The first Vrittis is right knowledge. How do we know? We perceive by seeing something. We infer. When we see smoke we infer there is a fire. The third is by having a reliable source tell us something. By reliable source we mean the truth. This does not mean you do something just because a reliable source tells you to do it. It means that the source must come from a place of truth. In yoga we refer to this as the scriptures.
It is important to remember that the truth is always the same. We may modify it and present it in different words or forms to fit our needs, but the truth always remains the same. Likewise you are the same person even when you change your clothes to fit an occasion. You would not wear a suit to go skiing, but you are still the same person even though you have changed your clothes.
Who are you? Are you the business person or the skier? No, you are always you no matter what you are wearing.
Always examine and question. Truth comes from a place of reliable knowledge and knowledge leads to wisdom.
Yoga provides scripture which are thousands of years old and have proven the test of time as reliable sources that bring health, happiness and peace to body, the mind and the soul.
But nothing is achieved without practice. So this is why we practice yoga.
Choose wisely where and how you receive information. There are three ways we get valid knowledge, perception, inference and a reliable source. Whether the information is valid or not, ultimately you need to set it aside and find peace. Slowly remove that which does not serve you and help you to evolve and become a more conscious being. Hold onto that which elevates you to a higher realm of being. Know the truth and it shall set you free.
Thursday, November 06, 2014
It is important to remember that spiritual fitness is a process. This process begins with this first question: Why am I here in this place and living this life? The second step is assessing your lifestyle and implementing change. As long as the body-mind is thrashing about, it is difficult to achieve clarity. Clarity is what sets us on the spiritual path.
As consciousness begins to expand we see patterns of existence that have been dictating our lives. These forces are nothing more than patterns of energy that we have taken on for our own evolution. That is the purpose and true nature of our being. And just as we have taken on these patterns of energy, like the subatomic waves and particles, we participate in the dance of life (dance and dancer become one) and become the creator of our own destiny. This is known as self-mastery. As the veil of ignorance is removed, we discover that our purpose of being is simply about the discovery of vices and virtues. This process of discovery is found through the contents of our lives. When we discover our true mission, the drama and dynamics of life give way to the process of enlightenment.
Wednesday, November 05, 2014
Is there anything more difficult to get to than an artichoke heart and is there anything more difficult to find than true love? Like love we need to painstakingly peel away each thistly protective leaf to find a sweet heart.
The origin of the artichoke dates back to 371- 287 B. C. when the naturalist and philosopher Theophrastus discovered them in Sicily and Italy. The Greeks however, made them into legend involving the God Zeus. Seems Zeus visited the Island of Sicily where he found a beautiful mortal girl. She did not fear Zeus and he was quite intrigued. He decided to make her a Goddess and take her back to his home in Olympus where he would have his way with her while his wife was out of town. The Girl missed her family and returned to Sicily for a visit. Zeus was enraged by her return to her mortal ways so he turned her into an artichoke.
The ancient Greeks considered the artichoke an aphrodisiac. The plant spread from Greece to Rome, to Europe and to the United States where today the biggest crops are grown in Northern California. Artichokes have become big business.
Scientists have discovered that artichokes contain phytonutrients that not only lower bad cholesterol but raise good cholesterol. If it’s good for cholesterol control, it must be good for the heart and anything that’s good for the heart has to be good for love.
Furthermore the artichoke is chock full of good for you nutrients such as magnesium, which works with calcium to create strong bones and teeth. Magnesium is also necessary regulating the body temperature. Artichokes contain potassium. In fact, a medium sized artichoke has almost as much potassium as a small banana. Potassium is necessary to maintain your heart rhythm, nerve function, fluid balance and muscle. Artichokes are also a great source for vitamin C, beneficial for the immune system and building collagen.
In the plant world, color pigments offer protection against the elements. The pigment, anthocyanin, which gives artichokes their color, also gives you powerful antioxidants when you eat it. Scientist believe that anthocyanin may lower your risk of losing memory function, help prevent cancers and improve urinary tract health.
Now, I must admit that harvesting through those prickly leaves in search of the heart is a daunting task. But once the heart is found it is worth every arduous step. For love is like the artichoke; it does not come without a little effort.
From the "Book of Nature," by Dr. Bartolomeo Boldo in 1576—"it has the virtue of . . . provoking Venus for both men and women; for women making them more desirable, and helping the men who are in these matters rather tardy."
Saturday, November 01, 2014
All thoughts fall into two major categories pleasure and pain.
The main goal of yoga is learning to control the mind. We use the poses to help us get there. Thoughts are called vrittis. There are five main vrittis or fluctuations that affect our consciousness. They are:
1. Correct knowledge
2. Incorrect knowledge or misconception
3. Imagination(verbal delusion)
We are all subject to these thought processes. They are not necessarily bad. They can be both good and bad. For example correct, knowledge can help us to do the right thing, however right knowledge can also be used in a harmful way. A surgeon is very skilled and knows how to perform surgery, but does surgery when it is not needed for financial gains.
We study the vrittis because we are interested in how they affect our state of mind. When the mirror of the mind is clear and polished we don’t see any distortions. Here we glimpse the truth. However, most of the time we are all looking into a bent and cloudy mirror and what is reflecting back is not the truth.
The truth is – we are our thoughts. As we think so we become.
Each week for the next five weeks we will work on each of the vrittis. Our goal is to understand how to control the thoughts that arise in our minds.
Nothing is achieved without practice.